The antioxidant polyphenols in cacao liquor, a major ingredient of chocolate and cocoa, have been characterized as flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidin oligomers. In this study, various cacao products were analyzed by normal-phase HPLC, and the profiles and quantities of the polyphenols present, grouped by molecular size (monomers-oligomers), were compared. Individual cacao polyphenols, flavan-3-ols (catechin and epicatechin), and dimeric (procyanidin B2), trimeric (procyanidin C1), and tetrameric (cinnamtannin A2) proanthocyanidins, and galactopyranosyl-ent-(-)-epicatechin (2α→7, 4α→8)-(-)-epicatechin (Gal-EC-EC), were analyzed by reversed-phase HPLC and/or HPLC/MS. The profile of monomers (catechins) and proanthocyanidin in dark chocolate was similar to that of cacao liquor, while the ratio of flavan-3-ols to the total amount of monomeric and oligomeric polyphenols in the case of pure cocoa powder was higher than that in the case of cacao liquor or chocolate.
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